Paper snowflakes and crafts made by children line the windows inside the Amos Recreation Center, on 16th Street near Montgomery Avenue. Past the snowflakes, the partial structure of the future Student Health and Wellness Center towers over the center and blocks the view of the surrounding area.
“There is just so much going on,” said Jocelyn Marrow, an employee at the center’s after-school program. “When that building goes up, we won’t be able to stand here and look out the window and see the open space.”
The Student Health and Wellness Center being built on 15th Street near Montgomery Avenue and is set to open for Fall 2017. The structure takes up the land that once held an outdoor track, that Temple owned and made available for student and public use.
The center’s programs are continuing and the playground is still in use, but the construction creates loud noises and raises dust outside, Marrow said.
She added that the children at the afterschool program had been able to use the field, which is now the building site, before construction began.
“It was cool because the kids could go around [to the field],” she said. “They would run around the track and get their exercise in. A lot of people did.”
Now, the children only use the basketball courts and playground equipment.
“The playground is fine,” said Eileen Bradley, the community liaison for Campus Safety Services. “The playground will stay open and hopefully, it will be better.”
Cameron Walker, the center’s director, and Marrow oversee roughly 20 children enrolled in the after-school program. Children receive help with their homework, create arts and crafts and play on the playground equipment and basketball courts.
“The kids haven’t complained, because kids are kids,” Marrow said. “They’re going to keep playing, figure out something to do. It’s just noisy and dusty.”
“The building is operating and none of our programs are having problems with the construction,” Walker said in a statement from Philadelphia’s parks and recreation department. “It’s just Temple expanding. It is what it is.”
The new center will contain an outdoor track that will be open to the public, according to a university statement released last summer.
Marrow said she would like to see improvements to the playground to match the state-of-the-art building that will stand right next to it.
“Dress [the playground] up too, so it can model that,” Marrow said.
She added that when new university buildings are being constructed, she sees it as “breaking the community up.”
“It’s frustrating when [the building] doesn’t have anything to do with you,” she added.
Kelly Brennan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @_kellybrennan.